Date: 19 May 2008


  The following sentence at the end is revealing: "It is the acceptance by an emasculated Government that it has neither the political will nor the intellectual acuity to battle terrorism and design a proactive intelligence-gathering system."
    This is the most telling description of the Government headed (or tailed?) by Manmohan singh. The epithet applies to him as well.
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 5:12 AM
Subject: [BEF] Re: A dysfunctional security apparatus
Intelligence failure 

The Pioneer Edit Desk 

Clueless NSA passes the buck

In his recent briefing to the Union Cabinet, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan admitted that there was lack of coordination between the Intelligence Bureau and State-level intelligence agencies, and that the inputs provided by IB were "not actionable" and were imprecise and general. In doing so, Mr Narayanan has put two sets of people in the dock. First, he has exposed the claims of the Home Ministry and of Congress functionaries who have been saying that the Centre had warned the Rajasthan Government that a terror attack on Jaipur was coming. Mr Manish Tewari, a spokesperson of the Congress, was very specific in alleging that an IB report sent about a month ago was ignored. Mr Narayanan is now saying this report did not exist and was a post facto invention by an embarrassed establishment in New Delhi. Indeed, the NSA has only echoed what the Gujarat Chief Minister said in the aftermath of the Jaipur tragedy, when he compared intelligence from the Centre to "vague ... weather reports". Second, Mr Narayanan has called his own role into question. As the person responsible for national security and to whom the IB has been reporting for the past four years, he has more or less confessed that he has been asleep at the wheel. In other words, Mr Narayanan has indirectly indicted those who chose him for his job. A police officer with a specialisation in political intelligence, he is now sitting at the apex of India's security apparatus, deciding the strategic direction of foreign policy and also building capacities to fight terrorism and jihad. How he got to his current office is only representative of the amateur and individual loyalty-specific method of appointments that the Congress and the UPA Government have institutionalised. In the social sector, this can delay policy prescriptions. When it comes to combating terrorism, the impact is far more lethal -- casualness claims lives.
Since 2004, from Varanasi to Mumbai, Delhi to Jaipur, a series of terror bombings have assaulted urban centres in India. At no stage has the NSA said that the current intelligence and threat anticipation mechanism is inadequate and that it needs to be reconfigured. Aside from making alarmist statements -- about terror money fuelling the Indian market boom in 2007, about the likelihood of sea-based attacks by "marine terrorists" who may have occupied remote islands off the coast of India -- he has done precious little to actually safeguard citizens. By removing POTA and thwarting State Governments that want to bring in laws with similar provisions, the UPA has made it difficult to intercept communication between terror groups and listen in on 'chatter' between suspects. On the other hand, it has bothered itself with such 'security threats' as the fact that e-mail sent using the Blackberry network is not stored in servers in India. At any point, has the NSA pointed to the Government's misplaced priorities and how this has helped cripple the legal infrastructure that can help fight terrorists? Obviously, the answer is no.
Mr Narayanan's briefing to the Cabinet is more than an individual's mea culpa. It is the acceptance by an emasculated Government that it has neither the political will nor the intellectual acuity to battle terrorism and design a proactive intelligence-gathering system. Like inflation, terrorism is a global problem -- one the UPA hopes will just go away.